The Roman Catholic Church should be less judgmental toward gay people and should welcome children of gay couples to participate in all church-related activities, says a Vatican report released today.
The 75-page document is a working paper for a bishops’ meeting on family issues that will take place at the Vatican in October, reports Reuters. It was based on responses to a survey sent to Catholic dioceses around the world. Church leaders were encouraged to seek input from parishioners, not just clergy, for the survey.
“While the new document did not signal any immediate change in the church’s condemnation of homosexual acts and its opposition to gay marriage and to the adoption of children by gay people, it used language that was remarkably less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements,” Reuters reports.
For instance, the document urges the church to balance its opposition to same-sex marriage with “a respectful, non-judgmental attitude towards people living in such unions.” It also says the church should not exclude children of same-sex couples from baptism or other services.
It also notes that many respondents called for the church to engage in “theological study in dialogue with the human sciences to develop a multi-faceted look at the phenomenon of homosexuality,” but emphasizes that church teaching on homosexuality is not subject to popular opinion.
The report seems to echo Pope Francis’s attitude toward LGBT people, which is more conciliatory than that of his predecessors. Last year he famously said, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”